Sunday, June 04, 2006

Evil Pharmacist


Dean and I had a lovely dinner last night with our old (and I mean *really* old: she's 71, he's 78) friends Erika and Bob. He's a former high school teacher; she's a former nurse. We had a fascinating discussion about the new Washington State law that allows a pharmacist to refuse to fill a prescription if it goes against his or her religious or moral beliefs. For instance, they can refuse to fill a valid prescription for Plan B for emergency contraception, or birth control pills, or AIDS drugs, or antibiotics for STD's. It is mind-boggling how the state Board of Pharmacy pushed this through. I'm moving to Canada. Posted by Picasa


Anne said...

Would a grocery store checkout clerk be allowed to refuse to sell meat if s/he were a vegetarian and believed eating meat was wrong? Would a bookstore clerk be allowed to refuse to ring up a Danielle Steele novel or Ann Coulter's latest tome? "Sorry, I can't sell this to you; it's a pack of lies." Yeah, I don't think they could get away with that, because IT'S THEIR JOB TO SELL THE STUFF, HELLO.

Grr. Stuff like that makes me so mad.

Peter said...

Anne: I agree. It's really such a farce that this has happened. So much for our free and liberal society.

Deb Trent said...

Hi Peter,

Lorraine showed me the "Evil Pharmacist" cartoon and the dinner discussion revolving around one more fear that has been added to our lives. This one involving our trusted pharmacist refusing to dispense prescribed medication based on the pharmacist's religious or moral beliefs. I first heard about this several months ago driving home from work on BBC news and was astounded. I immediately spent some time posting a message on my pharmacy association listserve and contacting my professional pharmacy associations. A lively debate ensued, but was cut off after a period of time, when some negative judgements were expressed against specific religions and it became nonproductive. In the pharmacy community this is quite a debate. The American College of Clinical Pharmacy put out a comforting response to an editorial the other day, but I no longer have it in my email and cannot find the exact statement on the web. It went through the history, defending the importance of a pharmacist being able to evaluate a prescription and act in the patient's best medical interest prior to dispensing. If a pharmacist has moral or religious reasons to dispense or not dispense - that pharmacist is encouraged to take this into consideration in deciding where he or she plans to practice. The priority is the patient/customer focus and need which must not be delayed. The patient should not even be aware that there is a moral or religious issue for a particular pharmacist. Of course, in real life, there have been patients who have been lectured to by "evil pharmacists".

May I use the cartoon posted on the your blog and your discussion on my pharmacy listserve? It will again bring to the forefront the fears our community has regarding access to medication.

Thanks Peter,

Deb Trent (Lorraine Ferra's partner)

Peter said...

Hi Deb:
Thanks for your comments here.
Oh please feel free to use the comic (It is David Horsey from the Seattle PI).
Most pharmacists I know are good caring hardworking people. It is the rarity who wants to control others based on personal religious beliefs: but they are spoiling the reputation of the entire profession.

A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz said...

Agh. I'm with you, Doc.